Immediately following the Hellfire Gala, it was impossible for humanity not to take note of what the X-Men were up to on Mars. By terraforming the whole of the frozen planet, dubbing it Arakko, and declaring it the new capital of the Sol system, the mutants put themselves on the intergalactic map and reminded everyone what a force to be reckoned with they are.
Most of X-Men #1 — from writer Gerry Duggan, artist Pepe Larraz, colorist Marte Gracia, and letterer Clayton Cowles — focuses on the new mutant flagship team settling into their new Manhattan headquarters and getting back to their earthbound superheroic roots. But as the issue comes to a close, and the X-Men put on their best smiles to convince their human neighbours that there’s nothing at all about mutants or Krakoa to be suspicious of, X-Men #1 zooms out in a rather surprising way to introduce a player to this story who might end up being rather significant in the X-Men’s coming days.
Because there was no legal Earth precedent for the colonisation of other planets within the solar system before the X-Men transformed Mars into Arakko, there’s been no real move to challenge the mutants’ claim to it. Through billionaire Kelvin Weng, whose still-fledgling Mars terraforming company was immediately rendered obsolete by Arakko, X-Men #1 establishes that there are other humans besides Doctor Doom who see the X-Men’s expansion as a threat.
Aside from the raw firepower at their disposal, one of the major things the X-Men have going for them as they introduce planet Arakko to the rest of the galaxy is that the Galactic Council has appeared to take them quite seriously. Whatever legitimate beef the rest of the Earth’s governments might have with the X-Men, the Galactic Council’s recognition of Arakko has the potential to make humanity’s issues somewhat irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, and that dynamic is likely to factor into what’s next for the mutants.
For the time being, the X-Men can probably deal with whatever the humans throw their way, but the ad on X-Men #1’s second-to-last page suggests that the threat the mutants might want to keep an eye on is… alien in origin.
It’s unclear just how thorough of a job the X-Men did in making sure that Mars was completely uninhabited before a group of omega-level mutants combined their powers to jump-start it back to live in a dazzling, but very dangerous process. Space lawyer Murd Blurdock’s ad presumes that there might be at least some beings out there who were forced to flee Mars when the X-Men took over, and if he’s right, this could pose a major problem.
Introduced in Rocket #2 from Al Ewing, Adam Gorham, Michael Garland, and Jeff Eckleberry, Murd Blurdock’s an Echomelian Daredevil analogue who, in addition to being an attorney, uses the heightened senses he gained from a freak chemical accident to secretly fight crime. Most recently, Murd appeared in Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reiss’ New Mutants #2, where he unsuccessfully tried to convince the Shi’ar to authorities free the New Mutants, who’d been arrested for trespassing in Shi’ar space. For his incompetence, Murd was sanctioned, meaning that his legal practice was put up for review and potentially put in jeopardy given how he’s been depicted as being a terrible lawyer.
Though Murd being sanctioned ultimately fell on him, it’s not hard to imagine him holding a bit of a grudge against the X-Men for getting him in hot water. What might truly make him a threat, though, is how Mars-natives and others living there might have very legitimate grievances with the mutants and the Sol system as a whole.
Aside from the X-Men getting to Mars and calling dibs, all of Arakko’s legitimacy so far hinges on the idea that the X-Men were acting in good faith with the express intention to not harm others. But that all falls apart somewhat if the planet’s founding required the destruction of other living beings, or whatever lives they may have been carving out on Mars. Murd’s ad in the space paper could very well amount to little more than a throwaway gag, but depending on what people have to say, he could also easily end up being one of the first serious issues the X-Men and their new planet have to face.
X-Men #1 is in stores now.